When it comes to divorce, things often become heated when it comes to the custody of children involved. While the court does take into account everything at that moment in time to ensure that the decisions made are in the best interest of the child in question, the needs and the interests of the child, as well as circumstances of the parents, tend to change with time, as do most things in life. In light of this, it is actually possible for either parent to request a modification in the custody of the child should there be enough reason justifying such change to the arrangements. Here’s what we can tell you about modifying child custody.
Modification Request Without Merit: Know Your Risks
Before you can even think of filing a request for modification of custody, you have to carefully consider whether you actually have a legal basis to base your request on. You are going to be challenging an agreement made in court and you have to have solid reason to do so. You also need to be aware that the risk you run by not having enough justification for your request. An unreasonable modification could lead the court to believe you are placing a modification request without merit or worse, see it as harassment against your ex-spouse. In the latter event, you could likely be found responsible for the payment of the Court fees in addition to that of your ex-attorney.
What The Courts Want
As mentioned earlier, the Court has the interest of the child at heart. For this reason, the Court also prefers that any modification to the agreement of the custody should be as minimally disruptive to the child’s life as possible. This means that in order to request any modification, you have to demonstrate a significant alteration in circumstances, warranting a further review of the custody decisions made. The legislation does differ by region, but generally, being dissatisfied with visitation schedules is an example of what the Court would not consider as grounds for modifications.
However, should you manage to prove that the other parent is perhaps abusive, or living with people or a person who is abusive, or if there are addiction problems that have surfaced or relapsed either in the other parent or with someone living with them, or if your own circumstances have improved and thus eliminated the reasons you were denied custody in the first place, then you have good grounds on which to request for modifications to the custody agreement. Basically, you have to have proof that you are in a better position to care for the child than your spouse is. Naturally, none of these grounds will guarantee a favorable ruling and are just guidelines.
The Two Types of Custody
It is worth noting that there exist two different types of child custody. One is legal custody and the other is physical custody. Legal custody is when a parent is granted the right to actually make decisions on behalf of the child and for the child regarding the child’s rearing and other things like education, religion, medical care, and other elements of lifestyle. Physical custody, on the other hand, is when a parent is granted the right to have a child reside with them. This is applicable to both joint custody as well as to sole custody.
Violation of Custody Orders
In the event that there happens to be a violation of the custody orders as given by the Court, ultimately it is up to you how you choose to handle the situation. Legally, you have a right to call the police, most especially if the violation has anything to do with causing harm to the child or the potential to do so, or if the child has been kidnapped by the other parent (yes, this is possible). You are also entitled to alert your attorney of the violations you have uncovered and present any evidence you may have of the said violation. You are also entitled to file a motion for the Court to hold the other parent in contempt.
It is best to proceed with your child custody concerns with a law firm that has plenty of experience in dealing with cases similar to yours. There are firms that may eve specialize in handling child custody disputes that can be highly beneficial. Act with caution and act knowledgeably, do not attempt to do things without professional guidance and always remember that every action should be to the child’s interest.